JOBS/TAXES/TRUMP EXECUTIVE ORDERS: “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to promote economic mobility, strong social networks, and accountability to American taxpayers, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Purpose. The United States and its Constitution were founded on the principles of freedom and equal opportunity for all. To ensure that all Americans would be able to realize the benefits of those principles, especially during hard times, the Government established programs to help families with basic unmet needs. Unfortunately, many of the programs designed to help families have instead delayed economic independence, perpetuated poverty, and weakened family bonds. While bipartisan welfare reform enacted in 1996 was a step toward eliminating the economic stagnation and social harm that can result from long-term Government dependence, the welfare system still traps many recipients, especially children, in poverty and is in need of further reform and modernization in order to increase self-sufficiency, well-being, and economic mobility.
Sec. 2. Policy. (a) In 2017, the Federal Government spent more than $700 billion on low-income assistance. Since its inception, the welfare system has grown into a large bureaucracy that might be susceptible to measuring success by how many people are enrolled in a program rather than by how many have moved from poverty into financial independence. This is not the type of system that was envisioned when welfare programs were instituted in this country. The Federal Government’s role is to clear paths to self-sufficiency, reserving public assistance programs for those who are truly in need. The Federal Government should do everything within its authority to empower individuals by providing opportunities for work, including by investing in Federal programs that are effective at moving people into the workforce and out of poverty. It must examine Federal policies and programs to ensure that they are consistent with principles that are central to the American spirit—work, free enterprise, and safeguarding human and economic resources. For those policies or programs that are not succeeding in those respects, it is our duty to either improve or eliminate them.
(b) It shall be the policy of the Federal Government to reform the welfare system of the United States so that it empowers people in a manner that is consistent with applicable law and the following principles, which shall be known as the Principles of Economic Mobility:
(i) Improve employment outcomes and economic independence (including by strengthening existing work requirements for work-capable people and introducing new work requirements when legally permissible);
(ii) Promote strong social networks as a way of sustainably escaping poverty (including through work and marriage);
(iii) Address the challenges of populations that may particularly struggle to find and maintain employment (including single parents, formerly incarcerated individuals, the homeless, substance abusers, individuals with disabilities, and disconnected youth);
(iv) Balance flexibility and accountability both to ensure that State, local, and tribal governments, and other institutions, may tailor their public assistance programs to the unique needs of their communities and to ensure that welfare services and administering agencies can be held ac-countable for achieving outcomes (including by designing and tracking measures that assess whether programs help people escape poverty);
(v) Reduce the size of bureaucracy and streamline services to promote the effective use of resources;
(vi) Reserve benefits for people with low incomes and limited assets;
(vii) Reduce wasteful spending by consolidating or eliminating Federal programs that are duplicative or ineffective;
(viii) Create a system by which the Federal Government remains updated on State, local, and tribal successes and failures, and facilitates access to that information so that other States and localities can benefit from it; and
(ix) Empower the private sector, as well as local communities, to develop and apply locally based solutions to poverty.
(c) As part of our pledge to increase opportunities for those in need, the Federal Government must first enforce work requirements that are re-quired by law. It must also strengthen requirements that promote obtaining and maintaining employment in order to move people to independence…
(e) The Federal Government owes it to Americans to use taxpayer dollars for their intended purposes. Relevant agencies should establish clear metrics that measure outcomes so that agencies administering public assistance programs can be held accountable. These metrics should include assessments of whether programs help individuals and families find employment, increase earnings, escape poverty, and avoid long-term dependence. Whenever possible, agencies should harmonize their metrics to facilitate easier cross-programmatic comparisons and to encourage further integration of service delivery at the local level. Agencies should also adopt policies to ensure that only eligible persons receive benefits and enforce all relevant laws providing that aliens who are not otherwise qualified and eligible may not receive benefits.”
-Donald Trump, “Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility,” whitehouse.gov, Apr. 10, 2018
[Note: Read the full Executive Order signed by Donald Trump.]